Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 165, Issue 3, pp 565–572 | Cite as

Mammographic breast density decreases after bariatric surgery

  • Austin D. WilliamsEmail author
  • Alycia So
  • Marie Synnestvedt
  • Colleen M. Tewksbury
  • Despina Kontos
  • Meng-Kang Hsiehm
  • Lauren Pantalone
  • Emily F. Conant
  • Mitchell Schnall
  • Kristoffel Dumon
  • Noel Williams
  • Julia TchouEmail author
Clinical trial



Breast density (BD), an important risk factor for breast cancer, can change over time in some women, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Very little is known about the impact of surgical weight loss on BD. Our hypothesis is that weight loss after bariatric surgery is associated with a significant and favorable change in mammographic BD.


We identified 1097 women 40 years of age or older who underwent gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy at our institution from 2010 to 2014. Women who did not have either pre- and post-bariatric surgery mammograms performed at our institution were excluded; 110 had both mammograms and comprised the cohort. Breast density was determined both qualitatively, using reported BI-RADS density, and quantitatively, using the Laboratory for Individualized Breast Radiodensity Assessment.


Qualitative BI-RADS density, quantitative breast area, and percent BD significantly decreased in post-bariatric surgery mammograms (p = 0.009, <0.001, and <0.001, respectively).


Our retrospective study demonstrated that surgical weight loss was associated with a significant decrease in breast density. Additional studies are warranted to validate our findings and elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying breast density change after weight loss surgery.


Bariatric surgery Gastric bypass Sleeve gastrectomy Mammography Breast density Breast cancer risk 



We would like to thank Yuliya Borovskiy at the Penn Data Store for her assistance in assembling the information used in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Disclosures and funding sources


Supplementary material

10549_2017_4361_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Austin D. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alycia So
    • 1
  • Marie Synnestvedt
    • 3
  • Colleen M. Tewksbury
    • 1
  • Despina Kontos
    • 2
  • Meng-Kang Hsiehm
    • 2
  • Lauren Pantalone
    • 2
  • Emily F. Conant
    • 2
  • Mitchell Schnall
    • 2
  • Kristoffel Dumon
    • 1
  • Noel Williams
    • 1
  • Julia Tchou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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